If God is an integral part of your life, then your faith is integrated into your teaching by default. When you accept Jesus as your Saviour, your faith becomes a part of your deoxyribonucleic acid – your DNA, or if you prefer, your spiritual DNA. You cannot contain it nor hide it even if you tried, which explains why Jesus said, “A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Note that Jesus said this after telling his followers, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
Whether you work in a secular or faith-based school, one way or another your relationship with God will be reflected in the way you talk and interact with students and colleagues. I have had people approach me to ask, “Are you a Christian?” Whenever I say yes, they respond, “I thought so.” My students often ask the same question and they seem content and reassured when I say, “Yes. I am a Christian.” I find this quite fascinating and often wonder what is going through their minds.
Being a teacher means you are under constant observation by your students. They watch your every move and they are witnesses to all your idiosyncrasies. If you are in doubt, just ask your students to do an impersonation of you. You might be surprised by what you see and hear. Because students watch us so closely, the real test comes during those days when things do not go to plan, when you are having a bad day. Does your light continue to shine during those moments?
Such situations underline the importance of starting each day with a prayer. Integrating faith into teaching starts at home before you step out of the front door. It begins with prayer, thanking God for life, health, and strength and asking Him to give you the wisdom and determination to help your students to learn more each day, to improve and excel academically, and even to find a purpose in life.
Integrating faith is also about giving that little extra to add value to your students’ experience. I spent many years in the industry before I became a teacher, so I share relevant experiences connected to the topics covered in the students’ textbooks to illustrate valuable lessons from everyday life. A student came to me after class one day and said, “I like those little anecdotes you tell during the class. I find them helpful. Whatever you do, please don’t stop telling them.” I discovered those little anecdotes were adding value to my students’ classroom experience.
While Jesus was on this earth, he was the master teacher who did all he could to build up people’s faith and self-confidence through words and action, and he continues to teach us today. As teachers, we can draw inspiration from the examples he gave us to help students achieve success in all areas of their lives.